In case it’s not abundantly clear by now, on Monday, the Great American Eclipse will sweep across the United States. While a total solar eclipse may appear otherworldly and ethereal, there is a ton of science to suggest it is totally normal. But as evidenced by posts on Craiglist and other dark corners of the internet, mounds of scientific evidence won’t stop people from believing some pretty bizarre eclipse myths—mostly, ones that involve sex and/or death.
“For some reason the Moon and the Sun appear to have powerful hold on people’s imagination, and for instance there are a variety of beliefs associated with the Moon that have long been debunked and yet persist,” Jean-Luc Margot, a professor in the department of of Earth, planetary, and space sciences at UCLA, told Gizmodo. “I think in part it’s related to some cognitive biases that we all have so our brain is wired in certain ways to make quick assessments and quick judgements, which is extremely helpful in most situations, but in some situations, it gets us in trouble.”
Here are just a few of the unusual occurrences people are expecting the eclipse to bring:
C’mon, guys. This might have been okay to believe in Medieval times when people thought the Earth was flat but it’s kind of hard to justify why anyone with access to the internet would still believe this. Despite humanity’s persistent death wish, the eclipse isn’t going to kill us all—we are doing just fine handling that ourselves. After all, we’ve made it through many, many, many, many eclipses before and we’re still here.
“The tendency to predict apocalypse is deeply engrained in the human psyche. For reasons I do not understand, there’ve been hundreds of end-of-the-world predictions and we’re all very happy that none of these materialized,” Margot said. “So I don’t lose any sleep over these kinds of predictions, which, for whatever reason, seem to persist. But there’s nothing to worry about, the eclipse is perfectly safe.”
Lots of people are trying to get laid during the eclipse, but some are taking it a step further and trying to impregnate a woman in hopes of creating a new generation of X-Men children. At least, that’s what one hopeful penis-haver on Craigslist hoped to do.
“When totality occurs, we will have simultaneous orgasms an we will conceive a child that will be on the next level of human evolution,” the poster wrote in a since-removed listing that we obviously screen-shotted and the internet obviously archived. “We will make love together, with me and my penis directed towards the Sun.”
While there are studies that have looked into the relationship between the moon and human fertility, they’ve all found that “there’s absolutely no correlation whatsoever,” Margot said. For instance, a study that tracked over 12,000 live births at a UCLA hospital in the 1970s found no correlation with the lunar cycle. Still, the myth that there is a relationship between the Moon and childbirth hasn’t died out in the popular conscience.
In short, nothing will stop people like this Craiglist poster from treating the eclipse like their own sexy version of Burning Man.
“You must like cats,” he concludes in the post. “Drugs are OK.”
Again, people will take any excuse to get laid. But there are an unusually high number of listings on Craigslist seeking female “companions” for the eclipse. It doesn’t take a scientist to know that traveling to a stranger’s B&B room across the country sounds like the beginning of a Dateline episode. At least finding true love during a once-in-a-lifetime astronomical experience sounds a tad more plausible than conceiving an X-men baby.
Throughout history, eclipses have been interpreted as omens. While science has shown again and again that there’s no reason to fear eclipses, that doesn’t stop some outlets—including the aptly-named End Times Headlines—from fear-mongering. Despite what doomsday media might have you believe, the Sun won’t be responsible for people going to war—people will. If anything, there are documented instances of eclipses helping to stop wars. But as usual, everything is bananas and nothing makes sense.
Enjoy the goddamn eclipse, everyone.
(H/T Eric Holthaus for that Craigslist ad.)